It has been revealed today that Orion Media’s four Midlands based FM stations, brmb, Mercia, Beacon and Wyvern will all be changing their names to Free Radio in April.
Under the new plans, which will not impact the output of the stations, brmb will become Free Radio – Birmingham, Mercia will change to Free Radio - Coventry and Warwickshire, Wyvern to Free Radio - Herefordshire and Worcestershire, and Beacon to Free Radio - Black Country and Shropshire.
When the renaming has taken place in April, a major marketing campaign will be launched to support the new brand.
Orion Media, who acquired the stations from Global Radio in 2009, said that no net job losses will occur as a result of the decision.
Phil Riley, chief executive of Orion Media, said: “The decision to change the name of our stations after each one has been broadcasting in their areas under their original names for so long has not been easy or one that we have taken lightly.
“We have given this a great deal of consideration and undertaken detailed research. The original on air names of each station means a lot to all of us at Orion, and we know and understand the deep affection many people have for those names. However, the radio market has changed dramatically recently and we have to adapt and respond.
“In the last few years, other commercial radio stations have consolidated around network brands, some with few or no presenters or journalists based in their transmission areas. They have used television and other marketing activity to promote these brands and rely heavily on established presenters operating from outside this area to attract listeners. As well as helping attracting audiences, they can use these single brands to sell to national advertisers.
“We want to continue to develop high quality and locally focused programming for current and new listeners. Although the names are changing, the commitment we have to provide the best mix of music and presenters along with local news, sport, weather and traffic remains our number one priority. Even when we are in network mode on Free Radio, we will be broadcasting from and ensuring the station serves only the needs of the region.
“Free Radio will continue to be an integral part of the areas in which they broadcast, not only providing great entertainment on air but also as a supporter of the communities we serve, whether it’s fundraising for local causes or as host of major events.”